Thursday 1 August 2013

Two Lesser Black-Backed Gulls were circling over the Italian Garden, and the Mallard had sensibly herded her ducklings into the shelter of a clump of reeds.

The Moorhens in the same pond had done the same with their chicks. This is not a surprise with Moorhens, birds that are good at skulking in cover when danger threatens. But Mallards are often remarkably careless about big gulls waiting to snatch their young.

You might think that, if only the offspring of clever, wary Mallards survive, natural selection would have produced a race of super-intelligent ducks who today might be driving around in BMWs while we crouch furtively in the reeds. But no doubt reversion to the norm ensures that ducks don't get to this stage.

This Song Thrush holding a mixed bag of worms and insects crossed the path in the Flower Walk as I came into the park.

When I went back the same way a few hours later, it was also carrying food across the path. Evidently the pair are bringing up a very late brood. The male is a familiar sight and sound in spring, singing from a tree near the crossing of the path from the Albert Memorial.

The Green Woodpecker on Buck Hill came out and obligingly perched on a tree trunk to be photographed -- normally they rush round the back of the tree as soon as they see you.

It's a pity that the bird was in deep shade. This picture would have been better on a cloudy day.

This butterly is a Meadow Brown, Maniola jurtina, a very common British species.

They are very active butterflies and only perch for a brief second; and when they do, they always fold up their wings, so it is almost impossible to get a photograph of their quiet but beautiful wing pattern. There are lots of them at the moment, so I will keep trying.


  1. How wonderful to find an intellibent and caring Mallard Mum. I enjoyed your extrapoalions on 'reverting to kind'.
    I think the Green Woodpecker was rather attractive in profile . . .
    I would guess that butterflies are easier to photgraph in the Spring and early summer, when they emerge from their pupas and come out to sunbathe, opening their wings flat. How true would this be for different species, I wonder?

    1. Meadow Browns seem to be permanently on the move during their season, which is rather late this year. Other species are easier to catch in a moment of rest.